Police in Japan say an executive of a securities firm involved in the criminal probe into a popular Internet company has been found dead in an apparent suicide.

Officials say Hideaki Noguchi, the vice president of H.S. Securities, was found dead in a hotel on Okinawa.

H.S. Securities was one of the companies raided this week by prosecutors in connection with alleged fraudulent practices by Livedoor and its subsidiaries.

Investigators suspect Livedoor of violating securities laws by spreading false information. Livedoor's president Takafumi Horie has denied any wrongdoing.

News of the investigation sent investors into a selling frenzy Wednesday and forced Japan's stock exchange to close early after falling almost three percent.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.